Ray Brand, the ex-Millwall defender, has died at the age 85.
Brand, a versatile player who was also occasionally used as a make-shift striker, made 166 appearances and scored 8 goals for The Lions between 1955-1961.
Millwall FC said on their Twitter feed: ‘’Millwall Football Club is saddened to hear of the passing of Ray Brand.’’
He started his career with non-league side Hatfield Town, prior to signing his first professional contract with Millwall in 1951. However, it would take Brand almost five years to make his debut, making his first appearance in the Football League against fierce rivals Crystal Palace in a 2-2 draw on New Year’s Eve 1955.
The forthcoming season would see Brand cement his place as Millwall’s first choice centre-back and he was part of the Millwall team which claimed a famous win in the FA Cup against the notorious Newcastle side of the 1950’s.
Brand, who was renowned for his “masterful heading and a meaty challenge in the tackle’’, became a regular for Millwall during the majority of his time at the club, even when his place was threatened due to the new defensive partnership of Henry Dove and Dave Harper, which saw him make a positional change to centre-forward during the 1958-59 season in which he scored an impressive six goals in just eight games.
After leaving Millwall in 1961, Brand spent two years with Southend United, making 22 appearances and scoring nine goals.
Many Millwall fans have also left their condolences for Brand on Millwall’s Facebook page.
One fan, Brian Cotterill said: ‘’Sad news, watched Ray when I was a lad in the 1950s RIP Lion.’’
While another, Albert Marshall commented: ‘’Remember Ray very well. Hard as nails. Got him on video telling funny stories of the old Den! RIP fella!!’’